by Tony Orru
Draft legal are all triathlons and duathlons allow participants to draft during the bike leg without getting
any penalty. It is basically like a road cycling race where athletes ride in a group/s and or solo.
The most iconic draft legal Triathlons and Duathlons are the famous Olympic Distance ITU races for Pro
It is a normal practice in many countries to race draft legal in Sprint and Olympics distance events, so what about the USA? Until recently, USAT has never organized a draft legal events for Age Group (AG) athletes; only Collegiate and Elite Athletes were able to race draft legal in some specific dedicated event. And these events were mainly to prepare them for the ITU races and Olympic Games.
What is unique in the draft legal races.
1) It is a close contact all out race were pacing it is not the key strategy, and getting in the right group is most of the time the winning solutions or better the most rewarding racing conduct.
Only road bikes are allowed.
2) The bike leg is like a road cycling race, most like a criterium, with multiple laps in a small area. This means there are attacks, breakaways, tactics, and strategies to either help each other in the group going faster or drop weaker opponents before the run.
3) The race is very spectator friendly. Spectators watch athletes on the small laps and can therefore keep track them in real time.
4) The roads are totally closed to traffic. This is possible mostly because it is a small, closed loop. Because it is a small loop, the number of volunteers, traffic/law enforcement is reduced drastically making the event organization easier and more affordable.
Draft Legal Promoting Multi-sport events
I personally think the Draft Legal formula can be a great way to promote the sports of triathlon and duathlon in many more venues than a traditional, non-drafting event. This is true especially for duathlon because this event does not require any infrastructure for the swim leg. Theoretically a duathlon draft legal can be held most anywhere a small loop can be cordoned off. The draft legal bike leg and smaller course layout facilitate the whole process.
Draft Legal is a much more grueling and technical race than non draft events. The bike leg forces athletes to continue surges and requires a good level of handling skills. This will help make better athletes, including those who will race non draft short or long course.
First USAT Draft Legal Races for AG, Clermont, FL Nov 7th and 8th.
USAT has finally officially opened the draft legal formula organizing a Triathlon and Duathlon Sprint National Championship for AG athletes. This first event was held at Clermont, FL November 7 and 8, 2015. This addition is mainly the result of ITU changing the rules for the AG World Championship making the Sprint Distance Draft Legal only.
Athletes of Podium Multisport participated in this exciting new racing formula by taking part at two of the National Championships in Clermont, FL.
Katie O’Dunne and Sean Kilpatrick (Katie’s fiancé) did the Sprint Triathlon. Nathan Nowak and Tony Orru participated in the Duathlon.
Michael (Left - Podium employee), Tony (Center) and Nathan (Right) at Clermont
I am planning to look for other races hoping to see a
growing numbers of these events in the USA in the years to come.